As Lane County transitions into Phase II of reopening, Springfield City Club held a panel on June 18 to give insight on how Springfield is approaching reopening, Eugene Springfield Fire’s response and an update on the recovery planning efforts. 

This panel featured newly hired City Manager Nancy Newton, Eugene Springfield Fire Interim Chief Chris Heppel and the City’s ESF 14 Recovery Coordinator Monica Brown. 

Newton said to meet guidelines, some City facilities closed to the public with limited access, but now in Phase II are seeing more reopening. At city hall, staff has been looking at how to bring back in-person services. They have been taking land use and construction permits electronically or by appointment, and going forward will start to receive developmental applications, continue holding virtual meetings, but add in limited drop-in services two days a week. 

At the library, there is curbside pickup available for items put on hold and they will be allowing limited access to computers by appointment. The summer reading program is also back. For courts, they are mainly virtual and in-person proceedings are on a limited schedule. For criminal cases that cannot be attended virtually, the courts will accommodate to have in-person. 

Heppel said after the Governor’s Stay-at-Home order was in place, local efforts included continuing their services and working with local organizations to help the unhoused population.

“The goal was to keep them in place as well,” he said. 

As the countries reopen level by level, they are watching for any spikes in cases. In the past two weeks Newport and Union County saw outbreaks; however, Lane County only saw 90 cases total. 

“We’re in a good place now, until we’re not,” he said, adding that they are also watching for a second wave in the fall that they have started to prepare for. 

Phase III will only happen after there is a reliable treatment or vaccine, which he explained when Mark Molina asked on Facebook if there has been any communication on the federal level about a successful vaccine. Heppel said that it takes 12-18 months to develop a vaccine and the process can’t really be sped up due to the processes that need to happen. 

Brown said the State is in the post-disaster assessment stage of the long-term community recovery. The next check-in with City Council will be on July 6, where staff will present vision and goal components.

“We will go into what the community needs are and how to assist in those areas,” she said. 

Molina asked how effective testing is county-wide, and Heppel said the capacity is 500 a day, and there is more expansion in testing practices and those who have symptoms can contact their primary providers. There has been surveillance testing done in shelters and for those in the Latinx community; Heppel added that 36% of COVID-19 cases in Lane County are in the Latinx community. 

Some of the questions pivoted away from COVID-19 to focus more on Springfield itself. Newton said that studies are underway with the proposed indoor track and event center and they are looking at the cost benefit analysis. 

She also added that a survey for the community is an important component and in the works as well as updates on the City website.  

Another question asked if the school district will allow them in the next academic year. Newton said the City is “fully supportive” of resource officers and they haven’t heard anything from the district about not having them.